2008 Presidential Candidates: Room for Improvement on Internet Marketing

by Ellie Mirman

Date

Oct 31, 2007 11:33:00 AM

Report Reveals How the 2008 Presidential Candidates' Websites Stack Up With SEO and Social Media

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - October 31, 2007) -

News Facts

  • As the Internet plays an increasingly important role in politics, both in terms of news dissemination and as a way to reach voters, presidential candidates are employing sophisticated Internet marketing tactics to maximize the impact of their websites.
  • A new report generated by Website Grader, a free SEO tool invented by HubSpot, an Internet marketing company, shows that most candidates are succeeding at maximizing their websites' potential.
    • The report evaluated the websites of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
    • The candidate's websites received a score of 93 or higher.
    • The democrats scored better in terms of Alexa rank, number of inbound links and number of del.ici.ous saves. Barack Obama ranked the highest in most of these categories.
    • Website Grader rates websites based on a checklist of criteria -- from structure and popularity, to traffic, search engine optimization and marketing. Grades are calculated as a percentile score that runs the gamut from zero on up. So a score of 93 means the site is better than 93 percent of the other sites that have been graded.
  • The report also showed that the candidates are doing a poor job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
    • None of the candidates rank on the first page of search results in Google for "president" or related keywords.
    • When searching using the term "president," only Hillary Clinton is included in the first 100 results. But she is the only candidate in this analysis that was not included in the top 100 for the keyword phrase "president 2008."
    • None of the candidates rank in the top 100 results for "presidential election," "election 2008,"or "best presidential candidate."
    • Candidates don't rank for keywords that are associated with the issues they are campaigning on.
  • In addition to utilizing SEO, many campaigns are embracing new social media tactics but to varying degrees. HubSpot analyzed how the campaigns are integrating social media into their websites and found:
    • Clinton is the only candidate not using RSS feeds on her site.
    • MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr are universal between the candidates but some campaigns, such as the Edwards campaign, include countless other social networks on their site.
    • Use of Twitter and del.icio.us is sparse. When the campaigns do use del.icio.us, they use it as a news clippings repository but don't add their own analysis of the coverage. As such, campaigns are missing out on the opportunity to add their own thoughts on an article or rebut certain claims.
    • Every candidate has a blog but for the most part, it's just the voice of the campaign -- or one particular campaign staffer. The candidates are missing out on a huge opportunity for a personal connection with voters. The exception is the Romney campaign. His sons and wife all post regularly about their experiences on the campaign trail and Romney himself has made a few posts. John Edwards, his wife and daughter all have "diaries" but the posts are infrequent.
  • Analysis for this report was conducted between September 21 and October 24, 2007.

Related Links for More Information

HubSpot 2008 Presidential Candidates Internet Marketing Report

Blog Article - 2 Huge Mistakes by 2008 Presidential Candidates

HubSpot's Website Grader SEO Tool

HubSpot's Internet Marketing Blog

HubSpot' s Company News Blog

Quotes, attributable to Brian Halligan, CEO and Founder, HubSpot

"It makes sense that the campaign's websites are among the best -- I'm sure they have some of the marketing industry's brightest minds on the case. But their poor SEO performance is surprising. Undecided voters are likely to turn to the Internet as a way of researching issues they care about, and the candidates should want to get found by these voters when they search terms related to the election but not specifically a candidate's name. The candidates are missing a big opportunity."

"It's interesting to see what phrases bring up certain candidates. People searching with the term 'end war in Iraq' will see the Barack Obama website near the top of the results or if they search for 'stronger America' Mitt Romney's website comes up. Candidates who are identifying themselves with certain issues should look closely at how they are performing on those keywords."

"What I found most intriguing was how the campaigns are approaching social media and how they could be doing better. Their blogs are a perfect example. In the coming months, voters will be trying to discern a candidate's position on the issues but they also want to get a grasp on the candidate as a person. Blogs written by the candidates and not a campaign staffer, which are updated frequently with personal reflections and observations from the campaign trail, would be a natural way to do that. Mitt Romney seems to be doing a good job here, but the other candidates are missing a real opportunity."

About HubSpot

HubSpot offers the first integrated Internet marketing platform that lets small and medium businesses take advantage of the changing nature of how products are bought and sold. With tools to quickly and easily update website content, add a blog, perform SEO, create landing pages and analyze every step of the process, HubSpot Internet marketing software is the most effective way for small and medium businesses to get found by more prospects and convert higher percentages of them into paying customers. Based in Cambridge MA, HubSpot can be found at www.hubspot.com and the Website Grader free SEO Tool is available at www.websitegrader.com.

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